Dodger fans July is upon us and though the hot stove hasn’t quite heated up yet there is plenty to look at as we approach the July 31 trade deadline. The Dodgers have some definite needs and have the prospects and flexibility in payroll to make a deal or two. One big difference in 2009 is the Dodgers are the best team in baseball. They find themselves in a position for the first time in many years where they don’t have to make any moves. In years past they have been a few games out of it and they are pressing to pull of a deal that will enable them a trip to the post-season. This year Colletti holds all the cards and will have the ability to play hardball simply because he has the best team in baseball. The team is playing exceptionally well and has already placed themselves as the early NL West winners.
Every year there are buyers and sellers, and a few that fall somewhere in between. The NL East is up for grabs except for the Nationals who are completely out of it once again. The same goes for the NL Central where anyone can still win it there. For now let’s identify the clear buyers and sellers in order of record that may make some moves in the next 30 days or so.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Tampa Bay Rays
Kansas City Royals
San Diego Padres
The Nationals are in full rebuilding mode now and figure to be looking to move any players that are not part of the future. Adam Dunn, Christian Guzman, Nick Johnson, Austin Kearns, and Josh Willingham could all have new homes in the near future. The Indians are always looking to play “Deal or No Deal” as are the Pirates who may be in NL Wild Card hunt. The Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays are competing for the AL East spot and likely AL Wild Card spot so expect all three of them to be very active.
The Dodgers have matched up well in the past with GM’s Mark Shapiro from the Indians, Jim Huntington from the Pirates, and Theo Epstein of the Red Sox. All three teams will be looking to make deals let’s look at some of the Dodgers needs heading toward July 31.
The Dodgers need pitching, and what team doesn’t? The Red Sox and O’s are probably the only teams with a true surplus of pitching and the price will likely be high. The Dodgers would like to add one solid starter for the 2 or 3 spot in the rotation. The Dodgers have also been searching for bullpen help since the beginning of the season. The Dodgers have some depth at a few positions and will likely be active in the next several weeks.
Some targets that the may be on the Dodgers radar as well as some players that are likely to be dealt in the next several weeks.
Jarrod Washburn has been a recent target, as well as Cliff Lee. Dodger fans are crossing their fingers and toes at the thought of having either one of those guys in a Dodger uniform. As Ken Gurnick recently suggested, why not give Jason Schmidt one last shot? Can he really do any worse than Eric Milton at this point? What a comeback story that would be. Jon Garland and Doug Davis are both available as the Dbacks are absolute sellers. Jon Garland almost signed with the Dodgers in the offseason so he could be a target despite being in the same division. What about a package for David Price? If Roy Halladay was made available you know Colletti would be on the phone, the price would be astronomical remember the deal for Sabathia last year? Huston Street may be made available, and Pittsburgh has plenty of trade targets in the pitching department to look at especially John Grabow, he has Dodgers written all over him.
Juan Pierre remains the most likely Dodger starter to be traded. There is a lot of interest in James Loney and why wouldn’t there be? However you could put him in the list of the untouchable players and we all know the names on that list. Here are some realistic trade pieces we have to work with this July.
Jason Repko-Tons of talent just hasn’t been given real opportunity in the majors. He will likely never make it with the Dodgers and is likely to be traded.
Blake DeWitt-The former starter at 2nd and 3rd base has been dethroned by Orlando Hudson and his awesome 2009, as well as Casey Blake who has been exactly what Torre ordered since acquiring him in July 2008.
James McDonald, Eric Stults, Chin-lung Hu, Scott Elbert, A.J. Ellis, Jamie Hoffmann, Mitch Jones, and Xavier Paul have all been showcased and we could definitely see a package built around two or three of these guys for a starter or the bullpen help we are searching for. We also have some solid prospects that will be used if necessary. Devaris Gordon, Josh Lindblom, Trayvon Robinson, Andrew Lambo, and Josh Bell. These guys are all studs and will be required in any deal with a name like Cliff Lee, or Roy Halladay in it.